5 things we learned at the first KISS Expo in Tokyo
by Eleanor Goodman / Team Rock
The first official KISS Expo launched in Tokyo, Japan, last week, and Metal Hammer was invited along to check it out.
An unassuming poster marks the door to the Kiss Expo, which leads into a shopping mall in Harajuku. We take the lift to the fifth floor, walk past some boutiques selling women's knitwear and frilly blouses, and enter a hidden world of Kiss memorabilia. Tellingly, the first item on display is the band's formation contract from 1976, promising each band member 25% of the band's revenue. Then there are gold discs aplenty, a selection of historic and smashed guitars, the infamous Kiss Kasket, a video showing Gene Simmons with X Japan mainman Yoshiki, and studded costumes from throughout the years – though sadly, the mannequins are not anatomically correct. "Kiss are sexy – we need to go to the sausage shop!" jokes Mark Stroman, one of the brains behind the event.
Aside from Gene Simons and Paul Stanley, Japanese music critics Masa Ito and Yuichi Masuda advised on the collection, which has been three years in the making and mainly consists of items donated by fans. The organisers now hope to grow the event and take it to the US and Europe. “There are two sides to this exhibition – one is the history and memorabilia for the diehard fans, and the other is fun experiences for new fans, like virtual reality headsets,” says curator Hana. “We're exploring more ideas, and hoping to have the whole band appear next time!”
Here's what we learned from a walk around...
Gene's basement is batshit crazy
He isn't shy about showing off his home, and the staff give out virtual reality headsets so we can tour his and Paul Stanley's cribs. He points out his branded pinball machine, toilet paper, baby bottles, condoms and other items, while our eyes try to adjust to the floor-to-ceiling Kiss Kaos. Ow.